|Posted on December 25, 2016 at 9:20 PM||comments (0)|
My husband and I have been so sick with colds that I didn't get any chance to post any Christmas related blog. I couldn't think of anything to say anyway cause my head was too stuffed up with the cold virus!
But at least I felt good on Christmas day and I had a good, but quiet, Christmas at home, resting!
So what I want to talk about today has nothing to do with the holiday season. I guess I'm just on a different tract. What I'd like to talk about is from a series of Podcasts on my Iphone that I listen to every now and then. When i actually have time anyway. I have been following the teachings of John Eldredge, an Christian author who has tremendous insight and wisdom into the human condition.
So often we settle for a life of survival instead of the life that we have always dreamed of. What do you do when you feel you are living apart from what you were made for? I have often asked myself this question since I have to work part-time as a Personal Care Assistant, when the life I really dream of is to be a full-time artist. That is where my heart is and where my passion is. But I have to do something to help pay the bills and work towards debt reduction. Unfortunately, the income I bring in as an artist just doesn't cut it.
Don't get me wrong, i enjoy my job and I like helping people. But I'd like to do more as an artist and less as a caregiver because that is where my heart is.
There is a false teaching that has trickled down through the ages that it is more noble or holy to abandon our desires and live a life of self denial. I think this has been twisted into something that can actually be soul suicide and heart killing.
When you actually look at how Jesus counseled and helped people, he took people into their deepest desires when he ministered to them on that level. And he did not follow any formula. He approached people according to what was going on in their hearts and where they were at in their personal journey. I like that.
Life teaches us to protect ourselves and shut down desire. Just live to survive. Get a little on the side and maybe take a nice vacation, but for the most part, we shut down desire because it feels safer. To live with desire is to choose vulnerability over self-protection.
You have to ask yourself, Is God really devoted to the recovery of my heart? Does He really want me to have my heart's desire? Your mind might way, "Yes" but what does your heart really say? I have to admit there are times that I have thought that God is really not that interested in some of my deepest desires--like the desire to be a successful artist and get the kind of opportunities to do illustrations, commissions, and workshops that I have always wanted.
Another thing to consider is that sometimes when your dream in life is thwarted, it is not just an attack of evil, it can also be a sign that this was not the right fit for you and that your journey lies with another path. This is something that I have been reflecting on regarding the disasterous illustration commission experience that I recently had. What valuable knowledge can I take away from this disappointment?
There is a temptation to shut down when you have a huge disappointment. But to choose the shut down is heart and soul suicide. God will address your cynicism and resignation and invite you to make new plans.
I think that is what I have been going through after loosing that illustration commission. I kind of resigned to not attempting any illustrations for anyone ever again. But instead of making that choice, I think the better choice would be just to learn from my mistake by signing a contract that would protect my rights, and to just try again with someone that I seem to communicate with better.
The choice is mine--do I continue to pursue the desires of my heart or do I leave my heart by the side of the road and go off into the direction of fitting in, getting by, being productive and doing whatever I can just to pay the bills.
It is not an easy choice. There is no easy answer. I welcome any comments on this post.
I chose to post this illustration I did a few years ago during the heart of the "recession/depression" that started in 2008. This little dog is trying to decide whether to hide in a hole and protect himself or to take a chance and come out of his hole to embark on another adventure-- Kind of like me right now.
|Posted on December 9, 2016 at 7:00 PM||comments (0)|
One of the things I love to do is to illustrate stories. I mostly illustrate my own stories, but there have been times when I've been able to illustrate someone elses stories or ideas and it has been an awesome collaberation. This year I had the pleasure of collaberating with some missionaries in Papua New Guinea to illustrate an educational primer that will be used for teaching a little known tribe known as the Kaulongs. Even though I knew nothing of the life style of the Kaulong Tribe, they were able to provide me with photos and good descriptions so that I could illustrate exactly what they wanted. The primer will be published sometime next year and I am excited and honored to have been a part of it.
Unfortunately, collaberation is something that doesn't always work out. Sometimes the person you are trying to do illustrations for does not speak the same language that you do and the collaberation turns out to be a disaster. Such was the case with a series of illustrations that I was recently commissioned to do, but it failed miserably. The book publisher thought she had a great ability to describe what she wanted and she did not. And she would not provide any photos for me so I could visualize it better. I had only done four sketches and I thought we were making progress, then she pulls the plug on me out of the blue without any warning! She said that we were "incompatible". She was right but for different reasons.
To say that this was frustrating is an understatement.
Illustrating is about collaberation. It is about give and take, and it is about compromise. You have to have a good relationship with that person. And that person has to be someone who does not have any attitude problems and can communicate with the artist on his/her level. I have been lucky to have worked with several people who were wonderful. But this unfortunate incident was a reminder to me to beware. There are wolves out there in sheep's clothing and some of these people do not play well with others. And they do not care if they crush your dreams or stomp on your heart if it suits their purposes.
I made the mistake of telling everyone that I thought my "career" as an illustrator just got a boost. That is called counting your chicken before they are hatched! Oops! I won't be making that mistake again. Next time I work with a contract before I even do any sketches at all. Period. if the person doesn't like it, they can take a hike.
A person who commissions an artist to do an illustration needs to understand a bit of how an artist thinks. They need to know how to communicate with the artist in a way he/she will understand. Artists are visual people. Why book publishers don't understand this is beyond me. Describing what you want illustrated can help, but like the old saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words." It's best to use both visual and descriptive words to communicate your concept.
Then there is the problem of ego. The person commissioning you to illustrate may think they have great communication skills, when in truth, they do not. And they are not willing to humble themselves enough to communicate on your level.
I have no patience with these kind of people and I have decided to be very selective in who I do illustrations for.
It was a painful experience to think that I was going to see a dream come true then to have it crash and burn like this. But it was valuable experience for me and I learned what to do and what not to do. I won't be making the same mistake again. I hope!
Here are some illustrations I did for the Kaulong Primer: Top: Cassowary Bird with leaches Bottom: Yams
Pen and Ink wash with a bit of colored pencil.
|Posted on November 24, 2016 at 7:00 PM||comments (0)|
I can't believe it is almost the end of 2016 already! I have gone through a lot of changes this year both artistically and financially. Most of these changes have been for the better. I just got some new PCA work with additional permanent hours which will bring much needed income my way. Another big change is that I finally have permanent Dental and Vision insurance. This is huge for me cause I've been fighting to get this for decades. I'm still working on getting medical insurance. That will come later. Rome wasn't built in a day I guess.
But the best news of all is that I made an important contact when I was selling my art at the Vineyard Christmas Bazaar a week or so ago. I met a Christian book publisher who wants me to do some illustration assignments for her. And this is not pro-bono, I'm getting paid! I've always thought that my real career was freelance artist. I only do the Personal Care Assistant job so I can pay the bills!
I hope that 2017 will be the year that my husband and I can take a really nice vacation together We have had to forego vacations for the last few years in order to pay down debt and the timing was never quite right anyway. My artistic soul needs to get out of Dodge and explore the world a bit. There is something about being in the presence of the beauty of nature that totally renews my spirit.
In October we did manage to squeeze in a two day trip to the mountains in McCall, Idaho. I wish it could have been longer. I really needed to get out into the mountains and away from the city. It really helps to renew my spirit.
The painting I posted below is of the Salmon River in Stanley, Idaho. One of my favorite vacation spots in Idaho.
The following is a poem I wrote during my two day trip to McCall.
I look within to find a place of rest
Escape awhile from obstacles and tests
In a role I'm forced to play
I have to get out, I don't want to stay
Mountains and forests call me name
Their healing waves are why I came
Infuse my spirit, restore my soul.
Your quiet beauty makes me whole.
Down the winding roads again,
I go to where new life begins.
|Posted on November 9, 2016 at 9:10 PM||comments (0)|
The morale on the internet and Facebook right now is not good. People are in a state of despair because of this presidential election. I am not going to get into politics here because I don't want my website to be about that. Please do not despair but try to remain calm. Do not give into the negativity that you may feel right now! Try to remain positive. America needed a change and now we have hope that we will have that change. That is what my attitude will be. It is not time to panic, it is time to pray.
Republicans can be friends with Democrats without slinging mud at each other. Let's sow seeds of peace, tolerance, grace and love, not discord and panic.
This post is about faith. The Bible says faith is the evidence of things not seen. Faith and hope go together. Faith is an ever changing thing. It appears, it fades out when challenged and tested, and it goes where it hasn't gone before. Right now, as Americans, our faith is being tested.
I love the theme song to one of the Star Trek TV series. It's called "Faith of the Heart."
"Its been a long road getting from there to here,
It's been a long time, but my time is finally near
And I will see my dream come alive at last
I will touch the sky
And they're not gonna hold me back this time, no they're not gonna change my mind
Cause I've got faith of the heart.
I'm going where my heart will take me.
I can reach any star........"
The art that I am posting here is called "Blue Faith." I wanted to visually convey the concept of faith, which is an ever changing thing. It appears, it fades out when challenged and tested, and it goes where it hasn't gone before."
|Posted on October 30, 2016 at 3:35 PM||comments (0)|
Lately I have been hooked once again by the Star Trek series, Voyager. Many of the episodes seem new to me because its been so long since I last saw any. And maybe because I'm getting old and my memory isn't what it used to be so everything old seems new again!
The interesting thing is that this time around, I have noticed a lot more than I did before. I have noticed how determined Captain Janeway was to get everyone home after they got projected way out into the Delta Quadrant. The crew battled many obstacles but never gave up. I can relate to that at this stage of my life, because I have had more battles to fight than I had the last time I watched this TV series. I feel I can relate to that feeling of "wanting to get home" and fighting to get there. As this world becomes more and more of a place that seems foreign to me, I realize that my real home is heaven, not here on earth. If there was a time on earth that I felt comfortable, it would have been in the 50's and 60's when I grew up in California. That was my world. It wasn't so complicated and there were not nearly the obstacles to overcome that I have today.
There is an old song that I learned in grade school that goes, "This world is not my home, I'm just passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue." I love that song and as I get older, I can relate to it more and more. I'm just passing through.
In a Voyager episode, Captain Janeway and the crew enter a toxic nebula that makes everyone sick. They realize they can't go through this nebula or they will all die. And the nebula extends 110 light years. Now there's an obstacle! Makes any of my obstacles seem like child's play.!
I love what Janeway says next:
"We've come 15,000 light years (so far) and we haven't been stopped by temporal anomalies, warp core breaches, or hostile aliens. I'll be damned if I'll be stopped by a nebula!"
I pray that I will always have that spirit. Be like Captain Janeway and don't ever give up!
Here is the Starship Voyager in space. I did this several years ago. Dug it up out of the archives. Prints are available for purchase too.
|Posted on September 28, 2016 at 8:30 PM||comments (1)|
|Posted on September 16, 2016 at 8:00 PM||comments (0)|
For a long time, I have been engaged in a battle of getting my life back. Once upon a time, when my husband worked for IBM, I had wonderful benefits, financial freedom, I never had to worry about making ends meet, and I could pretty much plan a vacation to where ever I wanted.
Then all that changed.
Jon got laid-off from IBM and had to find another career. For many years he worked in the mortgage business. It was a tough way of making a living. Things went from bad to worse. When the recession/depression of 2008 came, I lost pretty much everything I had except for the house. Since then we have been in the process of getting back what was lost. With the help of God, our family and friends, we have made tremendous progress. I no longer have the horrible stress & depression that I use to have because we couldn't pay the bills.
I had to learn to accept a new normal. Whenever I was able to put a little bit of money in savings, that was a major victory. I celebrated. When I was able to pay a bill that was another major victory. More celebration. When I could afford to take a vacation that was a huge victory! I learned to think of it as taking baby steps back to re-claiming my life.
This weekend another major victory was achieved towards re-claiming my life. My husband now has full benefits, including dental and vision, and I have dental and vision benefits. I waived the medical because it costs too much and I'll be on Medicare next year anyway. But considering that we have spent most of the last 20 years without any benefits whatsoever, this is a HUGE victory!!! Yay!
Like the song says, "Another one bites the dust!!!"
Sometimes you just have to think like a warrior and keep on fighting. The war is not over yet, but I won another battle!
Below is an illustration from Lord of the Rings that I did. It is the scene when Gandalf is fighting Balrog, the evil demon. I loved the part when Gandalf said forcefully, "You shall not pass!" I have this hanging up in my art studio. I think of Balrog as the financial crisis that took away my life and Gandalf as me, fighting to reclaim my life.
|Posted on September 9, 2016 at 3:15 PM||comments (0)|
Yesterday, September 8th, was my birthday. That also happens to be the same date that Star Trek first aired on Television, way back in 1966, I believe. I think that is a sign that I was destined (or predestined) to be a Star Trek fan. In the 80's and 90's I did a whole bunch of Star Trek illustrations and portraits for various Star Trek Fanzines, which were magazines published by fans and sold over the internet and other places, but usually not in stores. I was a big part of that. Eventually these fanzines died out, but I kept most all my art from those fanzines--at least the good stuff that I did.
So since it is Star Trek's 50th anniversary, I am going to post some art work I did of a couple of the Star Trek star ships flying through space. After much experimentation, I developed a technique of doing outer space art that really worked well. The stars are done with the spattering technique of white acrylic on a brush with stiff bristles and then flicking the brush with your thumb. The colorful gas clouds were done with acrylic. I did these first and then did the black space part of it. The worlds and the star ships were done in colored pencil and Turpenoid. I just cut them out and pasted them onto the picture. It was easier that way.
Keep on Trekkin and having awesome journeys!
|Posted on August 31, 2016 at 9:40 PM||comments (0)|
I had a wonderful time at the Comic Con, but it wasn't without its mishaps! First of all, I had so much on my mind between my day job and preparing for the con, I left my Iphone at a client's house the day before the con! So I back tracked to every house I visited on Friday and found it! I think I got a few new gray hairs over that one.
It seemed the comic con's theme this year was Star Wars cause that is what most of the costumes were about. There were several R2D2's that actually made authentic noises and followed people around by remote control. I came to the con in my Tardis dress, of course. It was fun to interact with people who love what I love and to talk about Dr Who or Star Trek.
Sales were pretty good and I made some valuable connections. There are at least two more cons that I can be in next year as a guest artist. But next time I do a con as guest artist, I want to take a partner with me. I need the extra help. I was exhausted by Sunday. Anyone want to volunteer? I can't pay but I can give you a free print or two.
Below is an illustration that I did that describes what it felt like to balance my day job with my job at the comic con as a guest artist!
|Posted on August 24, 2016 at 1:00 AM||comments (0)|
This Saturday, August 27th, I will be a guest artist at the Boise Library Comic Con. I have never been invited to be an artist at a comic con before, so this is gonna be very exciting for me! This comic con is different from the larger ones in bigger cities like Los Angeles. You don't have to be a published comic book artist to be invited into this convention as a guest. And you don't have to be famous.
I went to this same convention last year and I was impressed. For a free comic con, they had a lot to offer. I asked the show coordinator if I could be in the next one and showed him my art work and he said, "Yes". Wow. That was simple enough. Why did I expect it to be harder than that?
So I went home and started to write and illustrate my own comic book. I decided to do a Dr. Who comic book because I'm really into that genre right now. I think it took me almost a year to complete the comic book. I learned a lot about perspectives and how to pose the characters by purchasing a bunch of Dr. Who comic books and studying them. It was a lot of work, but I learned a lot and it was fun for me. I had never tried anything like that before.
Copies of my comic book, along with another Dr. Who short story, will be available for sale at the comic con. The short story is called "Destiny's Detour". Other genres I'm into are Star Trek and X-Files. Im also really into cats and will have a cat comic book for sale. You will like it. It's called Funny Felines and yes, it should give you a laugh or two. Other artwork for sale will consist of Dr. Who, a bit of Star Trek, and a little bit of X-Files. I will have prints and note cards for purchase. I also have a spinning game wheel that you can try out for free prizes and 10% off discount coupons!